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USGS National Wildlife Health Center Modernization

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) has been developing a modernization plan to replace our current facilities that were originally constructed in the 1970s and 80s.

Since 2008, NWHC has conducted multiple planning studies to identify and evaluate options for modernizing the facilities. The preferred option that emerged from this process is to build an entirely new facility on the grounds of the present NWHC in Madison, Wisconsin.

View of entrance way to brick building with flag pole, sidewalk, and bike rack in foreground.
Entrance to the Milton Friend Building at the current National Wildlife Health Center.

The current NWHC Milton Friend Building was originally built in 1969 as a private chemical research center and fire protection product manufacturing facility. The building and surrounding land was purchased by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the original governmental home of NWHC) in 1978, with renovations and additional construction completed in 1983. The NWHC Tight Isolation Building was completed in 1985 and houses biocontainment facilities required for live animal work.

Since the 1980s, the NWHC mission and capacity have expanded; age and space limitations of the present facilities pose a growing challenge to achieve our mission. Consequently, there is a need to design and construct a new facility to support our mission and cutting-edge science into the future.

In the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (PL 116-260), $55,500,000 was appropriated by Congress for the first phase of the renovation of the NWHC. This appropriation “supports the work of the National Wildlife Health Center and its important role in zoonotic research for detecting novel pathogens and emerging infectious diseases, developing rapid diagnostic tests, conducting disease surveillance, and designing vaccines used to control these diseases.”

Aerial view of tan colored building with solar panels on roof. Parking lot with cars to the right and landscaping and trees.
Preliminary conceptual illustration of the future USGS National Wildlife Health Center, courtesy of Flad Architects.

In 2022 a contract was awarded to Flad Architects to design the new building. The full design process, which began in November 2022, is scheduled to take approximately two years to complete and will ultimately result in final construction plans. The new NWHC will be a single, integrated, multistory, state-of-the-art building that will include offices, laboratories (BSL-2 and BSL-3), and vivarium (ABSL-2, ABSL-3, and ABSL-3 Ag). The new building will be constructed on the NWHC’s current site in Madison, Wisconsin.

Concurrent with the design phase, USGS is conducting an environmental impact assessment on the potential impacts of this project. Additional information and opportunities for public comment will be shared in the near future.

Artistic rending of a 2-story building with a tan façade on left and windows on right.
Preliminary conceptual illustration of the future USGS National Wildlife Health Center, courtesy of Flad Architects.


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